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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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International sanctions. International pressures on governments of less developed countries to expand and intensify their population control programs, backed up by such sanctions as the denial of food aid to nonconform-ing countries, have been suggested. Under present circumstances, such a policy would be highly counterproductive from a practical point of view, but it is equally open to condemnation on ethical grounds, because it would violate the principle of distributive justice by penalizing the children of the poorest classes in the poor countries, who are most vulnerable to malnutrition and starvation.
Free education for only two or three children in each family. In a country in which the resources are inadequate to educate all children, it would appear reasonable to place the burden of being not educated in such a way as to encourage parental responsibility, provided all couples had equal and adequate access to means of fertility control. The difficulty here is the practical one—the educational system in most less developed countries could not be so finely adjusted.
Population policies are a new and untested area for politicians and administrators, who have neither tradition nor public consensus to guide them. Moreover, because of the long-term quality of population policies, the governments of less developed countries, which are commonly pressed almost beyond their capability by urgent day-to-day problems that may threaten the very stability of regimes, have tended to put population problems and policies to deal with them into the limbo of things to be done when time permits. Most of the economists and planners who advise government leaders have had neither the statistical data nor the analytical tools to be able to fit population questions into their structure of analysis and planning.
The Special Character of Population Policies
These and other difficulties give a special character to the formation of population policies. To create a public consensus, they should be initiated by programs of public education and debate. Because population changes are fundamental to all aspects of the peoples' welfare, leadership needs to be taken at the highest political and government level. To serve national development goals, policies must be based on adequate demographic and economic data. Economic and other advisers need to learn new ways of thinking and new tools of analysis, illuminated by all the knowledge and understanding available in the field. Because population policies must be highly innovative, there is much room for experimentation, and because of their long-term